An Aveley Primary Blog

As always, 1S has hit the ground running this term, and have had a very busy few days getting stuck into our learning.

As well as exploring addition and subtraction using some eggs left behind by the Easter bunny (!!) and beginning our new non-fiction focus of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, we have got our hands dirty with a bit of Art..

As Artists this term, we are exploring lines and colour. We began this new topic by turning our classroom into an art gallery. With lots of different pictures by different artists around the room, we were able to choose our favourite, and have some fantastic discussions about how they had used lines and colour.

Having looked at some other people’s art, we have started to think about our own work. The first thing we needed to do was learn about different colours and how they are made.

Did you know that all of the colours around us come from THREE ‘Primary Colours’?!

The primary colours are: RED, BLUE and YELLOW.

We found this very surprising too, but our exploration of secondary colours helped us to understand that by mixing the primary colours we can make all sorts of new ones!

Take a look at us experimenting with primary colours:

  
  

 What is a chair made out of? Chair material?..
..Or how about a bench? Bench material?..
..And what on earth is a brick and an old piece of drainpipe doing in our classroom?!

This half term we put our scientist hats on and took on a new learning challenge, addressing the question of:

‘What material should the Three Little Pigs have used to build their house?’

 

To get us started on this topic, we spent some time exploring some everyday objects. This is where we can now help you answer some of the questions above…

Looking closely at different objects, we discussed the different materials that they are made from. Investigating a variety of different objects has helped us to realise that materials come in many different forms: different shapes, sizes and even colours!

We used lots of everyday objects (including a bit of a drain!) to discuss their appearance and how they feel. We then used this to help us sort the objects based on the material from which they are made:

    

    

Having realised that materials can come in many forms we decided we needed to find a way of recognising them, even when they are ‘disguised’ as different objects.

So, in order to recognise what materials different objects are made of, we have experimented with materials to discover their unique properties and characteristics.

As well as helping us to recognise these materials, deciding whether they are hard or soft, strong or weak, flexible or brittle, has helped us to think about why we might use materials for different purposes.

We have been set a whole lot of different challenges (by some of our favourite story characters!), which have required us to investigate the properties of different materials..

CHALLENGE 1: The Three Bears

Following Goldilocks’ visit, the Three Bears are keen to sort their house out! They called upon the help of the science team in 1S to help them to find out what material would be best to make new curtains.

We explored lots of different materials, investigating whether they are opaque or transparent. Once we had decided that, we thought about other properties that curtains might need (such as whether the materials were strong and light). After all, even though wood is opaque, it would be a silly material to use for a curtain!

Why do you think we decided that?

1S decided that fabric would be the best material for the bears, as it has the following properties:

  1. It is opaque so wouldn’t let any light in.
  2. It is light so could hang over our windows easily.
  3. It is soft an flexible so we could open and close the curtains easily.

The three bears were very happy with this decision and now have some lovely new fabric curtains! Well done 1S, great investigation skills!

CHALLENGE 2: Winnie the Pooh

In all of the horrible rainy weather last week, we had a phone call from Winnie the Pooh, who was very sad! He needed a new material to fix a great big hole that Piglet had made in is umbrella! Once again 1S’s scientists were ready to help find the right material to fix it.

We created an experiment to work out what materials are waterproof or absorbant.

When creating our experiment we thought about the variables we would need to change and what we needed to keep the same to make sure our experiment was a FAIR TEST.

We decided water needed to be kept the same. After all it wouldn’t be fair to pour a bucket on one material and a tiny teardrop on another would it!?

We spent time carefully desgining our experiments, thinking carefully about the methos we would use to test the materials:

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Then, we made PREDICTIONS (good guesses of which materials we thought might be waterproof based on what we already know about their physical properties). There can be no right or wrong answer with a prediction, because it is just your guess – how cool is that?!

We recorded these on a table, which we then used to record our actual results during our experiment:

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Once we had thought carefully about our experiment, we got investigating. Not only did this require us to carefully observe and ask questions about what had happened to different materials, but we had to use our teamwork skills to work together to make sure everyone got a turn and we were following our steps carefully.

This wasn’t a problem for us in 1S – we are fantastic teamplayers! Take a look at us investigating:

Once we had dried of our hands, we took a look at our results and decided, based on these, which materials are waterproof and which would be suitable for poor Pooh’s umbrella:

Our results led us to conclude that plastic would be the best material for the umbrella, because it is not only waterproof, but also flexible and light (we want Pooh to be able to carry his umbrella easily!).

Just when we thought our experiment was over and we could move on from helping out Pooh, Miss Stephenson told us bout the importance of evaluating our experiment. This meant thinking about which areas of our experiment went well and were fair, and what we could improve next time. We each gave ourselves 2 stars (things that went well) and a wish (something we will do next time) in order to do this.

Another character’s problem solved. 1S are getting very good at science investigations!

So What Materials should the Pigs Use?

Having explored the properties of different materials, we returned to our learning challenge question and decided on what materials we thought the pigs should have used to build their house:

      

Not only have we been doing all sorts of scientific work for this learning challenge, but we have been busy with our paintbrushes to! We thought about how we could use our hands and paint to create textures to represent different materials.

Some of these are up on our materials display in the KS2 corridor! 

Having sung our way through ‘The Lion King”s ‘The Circle of Life’ in our exploration of African animals, our singing in topic has now taken a much more frosty turn…

Before you ask, our learning hasn’t stopped in favour of sitting back and watching ‘Frozen’ all week (although we have found time for a little sing of everyone’s favourite ‘Let It Go’ of course!)… Instead, voices in 1S could this week be heard singing ‘The North Pole – that’s Arctic… The South Pole – Antarctic…’ If you don’t think that sounds catchy, check out the song we’ve been singing to begin our learning here:

This catchy tune has has helped us to begin our exploration of the cold environment we have turned our attention to (contrasting the hot Kalahari Desert): the North Pole (or Arctic).

So, as the temperature outside rapidly dropped as we welcome Autumn (something we will be thinking about in next half term’s topic), we turned to look at this new environment to help us to answer our learning challenge question.

Here are some of the things we have done as scientists, geographers and artists to explore the North Pole:

  1. Where in the world are cold places are located?

You might remember our brief mention of the EQUATOR (that invisible line around the center of the earth) when looking at hot environments. Well, to start our Polar adventure, we returned to our globe and located the North Pole and Africa in relation to the equator.

In doing so we created our very own globes:

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Can you point out the equator, North Pole, and Africa on our work?

This map work helped us to realise that as you move further away from the equator (towards the Poles and away from Africa and the sunny Kalahari) the temperature drops..

2. What are cold colours?

In order to fully emerse ourselves into this new section of our topic work, it was important for us to have a clear picture in our heads of the environment we were learning about. We therefore looked at, and created, our very own Arctic landscapes.

We discovered that an Arcitc scene looks very different from the African Kalahari Desert and has a number of different features that make it unique. Here are a few:

  1. It FLOATS (on the ocean)! – This makes it different from the Antarctic (South Pole) which is on land.
  2. There are large chunks of ice in the sea called ICEBERGS.
  3. The plant life is sparse (there’s not much and its quite twiggy!).

Who would have thought you could have a floating environment!?

Anyway, having created our Arctic scenes, we put on our artist hats and turned to think about colours. As well as looking at the colours we could see, this involved thinking about and discussing what other colours create a cold mood (and make us feel cold when we look at them).

We then used our (fantastic!) collaging skills to create our own ‘COLD COLLAGED ICEBERGS‘. All 31 were fantastic. The collages helped us to create textured icebergs with a range of cold colours which made Miss Stephenson shiver!

Here are a few (but put on your warmest coat before the colours make you feel cold too!): 

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I’m sure you’re all excited to hear about the learning underpinning our interesting display table involving a globe alongside some colourful calendars of Africa… Don’t worry, we won’t make you wait any longer! Here is an insight into our learning challenge that has been driving our topic work…

Our learning challenge question is: ‘Why Can’t Meerkats Live in the North Pole?’



This might seem a rather odd – maybe even slightly random – thing for us to be asking, here at Aveley (where we don’t have any meerkats around us and are based many many miles away from the North Pole!!).

But don’t you worry, despite what it might initially seem, this question is extremely relevant to our learning!

This is because, our new fiction focus is Emily Gravett’s ‘Meerkat Mail’. This gripping story follows the journey of ‘Sunny’ the meerkat, who leaves his home in the Kalahari Desert to discover whether the grass is greener on the other side, by packing his suitcase and exploring a number of other places.

But (spoiler alert!) Sunny realises that there’s no place like home: His home in the Kalahari Desert is the place that suits him best..

This challenge question was therefore something that we are all extremely curious to explore, so that we can discover more about the hot environment that Sunny comes from – and why it is “perfect” for him – but also the contrasting environment of the North Pole and why Sunny might not be able to live there..


In our literacy work, as well as producing some fantastic writing based on the story (which we will share with you later!), we used actions to create a whole-class recall of the story (we didn’t have to look at the book to remind us what happens once!).. While Joanne made a very confident, adventurous Sunny, we all narrated the story together and took turns being different characters that Sunny comes across.

Here we are recalling the story:

  
    
    
    

We also did some hot-seating to help us explore character thoughts and feelings.. Here are some of us being Sunny:

  
    
 While our literacy has been closely following this fictional story, out topic has enabled us to explore some of the FACTS.

We know that Sunny lives in the “Kalahari Desert”, so we began by finding out where this is. Have a guess – where do you think the Kalahari Desert is located? Do you think it is a hot or cold environment?

We discovered that the Kalahari is in South Africa. We even now know that this is a CONTINENT (land which is made up of many different COUNTRIES).

Discovering that this is a HOT environment (even hotter than our summer holidays here!), we have explored this climate as geographers, scientists and artists, by looking at:

1. What clothes we wear in hot environments.

 

2. What animals can be found in hot environments (helped by several sing-alongs to “The Lion King”‘s ‘Circle of Life’!)

3. What colours create a “hot mood”.

We thought about textures and shapes while we made our own ‘hot Africas’ by colouring, painting and collaging:

                                    


 

4. The difference between an African hut and our own homes in England.

5. Where in the world hot places are located.
This has led us to think about what happens as we move away from the EQUATOR and the temperature starts to drop..

Now we know lots about where meerkats do live.. Time to start exploring the North Pole and why they can’t live there…